IPL pitches England vs South Africa

Will it be England or South Africa? While IPL’s preference is England, it has stumbled upon two problems – the high host fee being demanded by the English board and ICC president David Morgan’s opposition to the IPL being held in England, possibly because the high-profile event might affect the ICC Twenty20 World Cup which is scheduled to start in England six days after the IPL tournament ends.

So, the IPL bosses are working out South Africa as a fallback option for the million-dollar Twenty20 extravaganza. Even as political leaders back home were getting hot under the collar because of the organisers’ decision to ship the tournament out of India, IPL commissioner Lalit Modi was preparing to visit England and South Africa with two other officials to weigh the options.

In South Africa, the IPL bosses will suss out the facilities and assess how much cheaper it would be to hold the games there. All this might push the final decision on the venue to Wednesday. “I’ll be visiting England and South Africa in the next 24 hours,” Modi told a news agency.

“I’m booked both ways and I’m yet to decide where to go first.”

As things stand, most players and franchisees appear to be in favour of England – players because the tournament will also help them get acclimatised to English conditions for the World Cup, and franchisees because cosmopolitan England will help them find support for each team and many players.

The ECB too is keen on the IPL as it views the tournament as a “stimulus package”, both for the moolah it brings as well as the excitement it will create for cricket.

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